The Cardinal spoke with LifeSiteNews’ editor-in-chief, John-Henry Westen, on Friday at the Vanier Centre for Women in Milton, Ontario. The Cardinal was at the prison to visit Mary Wagner, who has been arrested repeatedly for peacefully entering abortion facilities to speak with abortion-bound women.
While at the prison, Cardinal Gracias offered Mass for about a dozen inmates, including Wagner and pro-life prisoner of conscience Linda Gibbons. He was joined by Archbishop Lawrence Saldanha, archbishop emeritus of the Archdiocese of Lahore, Pakistan.
“[Pope] Francis is so clear about the necessity of us giving witness to the Gospel in spite of difficulties,” said the Cardinal. “I am deeply convinced that one should do what one sees is right. Follow the gospel in good times and in bad, whatever the difficulties. So in that sense, I certainly fully support what Mary Wagner’s doing.”
“Speaking to Mary, it’s clearer to me now that she has a mission,” he said, also describing her work as “an apostolate.” “She is certainly the voice of the unborn child. She is an advocate for their rights.”
Wagner has been in prison since she was arrested on August 15, 2012 outside Toronto’s “Women’s Care Clinic” on Lawrence Ave. West. Like Gibbons, who has been at Vanier since June, Wagner remains in jail because she refuses in conscience to agree to a bail condition that would bar her from approaching abortion facilities.
Cardinal Gracias said that after meeting Wagner he is “more convinced of the utility of what she’s doing.”
“It’s not just a futile exercise which is fighting against the windmills,” he said. “Whatever people might doubt about the effectiveness, she herself has told me that several have been influenced by what she’s done and have not gone for abortion. Now that, straight away, it shows fruits, it means it’s working and it was worth it. Even if she saved one life, it was worth it.”
The Cardinal also said he was struck by Mary’s personal witness and her apostolic efforts in the prison.
“She’s such a peaceful person and so content with herself. There was no sign of any distress,” he explained. “I’m so happy to have met her. She leaves everything in the hands of the Lord, a person of deep faith and commitment and sure of what she’s doing.”
“Her very presence is ambient,” he continued. “Possibly it is also therapeutic for some people, the way she deals with them, the way she is confident.”